style

n. a quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one's actions and tastes

mag·nate

n. a person of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular field

The Style Magnate's Ultimate Guide To Dress Shirt Collars

With the shirt, it all begins with the collar. It says "I'm here and this is what I'm about". It not only has to fit, it has to be the right shape for your face, your tie, your lapels, the occasion and your style and attitude.

It can be daunting.

Point, spread, semi-spread, cutaway, button down, band, tab, club, wingtip... groan, the list goes on. What to wear? And when? With what?

All the combinations may seem bewildering but we are going to cut through all of that. Trends will continue to come and go but some fundamentals remain true. This guide will give you the heads-up, on that section of cloth, that holds your head up.

Fit & The Finger Rule

GQ collar man
source: GQ
This is the no-brainer. It has to be the right fit. Too big, it will look ridiculous. Too small, you'll be choking, and it will look ridiculous.

And you can't have the collar size adjusted. You buy it, you're stuck with it.

So, start with your neck - measure it and memorise it. Then, wearing a shirt with top button done up, you should be able to slide a finger in between the collar and your neck, maybe 2 at most. But not a fist.

Balance & Proportion

Whatever style of collar you go for, there are some basic considerations with respect to proportion and balance that are worth understanding:

Face Shape

The shape of the collar is important because it frames your face. If you have a long skinny face, balance it with a spread collar. Conversely, balance a round face with the narrower point collar. If you're somewhere in between, that's great, you can go either way.

Neck Length

Again it's about balance and proportion. If you have a particularly long neck you can regain some proportion with a taller spread collar. Shorter necked style magnates might opt for a shorter point collar. And thus equilibrium is restored.

House of Cards collars
Round-faced Frank Underwood swears he'll stick with narrow point collars.
A long-faced, long-necked Mr President meanwhile nails it with the tall spread.*


Body Size

Big guys - bigger collar. Small guys - smaller collar. Proportion.

Tie Considerations

Jeremy Piven Spread Collar Windsor Knot
Jeremy Piven gets the message
Wide spread collar - Windsor knot
Getting the message yet? Balance. And proportion. 

If you're wearing a wider, spread collar you'll need a wider tie and knot. Full Windsor knot all the way for you. And while the skinnier ties might be on-trend at the moment, if you're a big beefy guy wearing a spread collar that's one trend you might want to buck.

Conversely, with a narrower spread or point collar you'll be needing a narrow knot. The four-in-hand knot is your friend.

And if you're somewhere in the middle, the Half-Windsor knot is an option, though you can go bigger or smaller as well.

When it comes to collars and ties, if your face, neck and body are in proportion, you have some room to move. You can mix it up a bit. However, paying attention to keeping things in balance can mean the difference between a discerning, and a disconcerting look.

Collar Shapes & Styles

There is a bewildering assortment of collar shapes and styles to sit your sartorial head above, so to simplify we've split things up. Firstly by basic shape, and then we'll consider some style variations.

Basic Shapes

Point Collar

Tom Ford signature long point collar
Tom Ford - signature long point collar
The classic straight point collar could perhaps be considered your standard, and traditionally most popular shirt collar. It has a medium spread which makes it a versatile choice for a range of tie knots. Just don't go too large, or too small. Business by day with a tie. Relax and remove the tie for evening cocktails. It's an all-rounder.

For a more striking look, a variation is the long point collar, a Tom Ford favorite.


Spread Collar
Adrien Brody spread collar
Adrien Brody
balancing thin face with spread collar

The original spread collar is a British classic. More formal than the point, you'll be needing a wider, properly knotted tie and a well-cut suit. Remember to consider your proportions. Taller men with longer necks - go for a taller version of the spread. Our more diminutive dukes of style should scale things down accordingly.

Variations on the spread collar shirt abound. The semi-spread is a great all-rounder for most. Like the point collar, but more on trend right now, it's naturally a perfect balance between wide and narrow, hip and square, formal and casual.


Gordon Gecko contrast spread
Gordon Gecko contrast spread = power
For a more dramatic effect, consider a wide-spread, English spread or cutaway collar. Show off that beefy Windsor knot. Or combine with a contrast colour, suspenders and cuff links for that Gordon Gecko Wall St powerbroker vibe.




Andy Garcia wingtip
Andy Garcia - formal classic

Wing Tip

Exclusively used on tuxedo shirts, it is designed to allow more of your bowtie to be exposed. Weddings, very formal and special occasions only.



Jude Law Mandarin collar
Jude Law - Mandarin action
Band Collar

Otherwise know as a Mandarin collar, it originated in southern Asia and generally is a slightly stiffer collar that is not folded over. While it's an option for formal occasions it's one we'd suggest a gentleman stay away from in day to day wear. Though Jude Law seems to get away with it.

Style Variations

Button Down Collar

With its US Ivy League roots the button down collar has a more casual, preppy air than the spread and point styles.

Button down collar
Button down - cool, preppy
Traditionally never to be worn with a tie, fashion times as always are a changin'. Though crusty stalwarts may disagree, The Style Magnate is of the opinion this rule no longer applies. 

While inherently more casual than it's spread and point counterparts, it carries that old-school sophistication and cool. It's a versatile option that you can dress up with a tie or dress it down and go without. It's an excellent business casual option. Great combined with chinos, you can even hip it up by throwing a bow-tie in the mix. 


Pin Collar

David Gandy pin collar shirt
David Gandy. Elle Style Awards. Pin Collar Shirt
The collar pin surfaced early last century as a way to keep softer collars such as silk in place for a better shape and a neater look. This also slightly elevated the tie giving it an air of sophistication appreciated by Fred Astaire and Gordon Gecko alike.

The pin collar, with its characteristic holes to fit the collar pin or bar, is experiencing a resurgence and is an excellent addition to any gentleman's wardrobe. Carl Thompson, founder of UK based "Pin Collar Shirts" has based his range around the concept for very good reason:
"At ‘Pin Collar Shirts’ we love the individualism, style and character of the Great British eccentric. Our mission is to bring back some of this individual style to the workplace, starting with our signature ‘Pin Collar Shirt’ range." - Carl Thompson, Founder PinCollarShirts.co.uk
This style is always to be worn with a tie. With the use of a collar pin, as it passes behind the tie knot, there is naturally less space for the knot itself so smaller ties and knots are the way forward with this style. 


Tab Collar

The tab collar is similar to the pin collar insofar as it holds the collar in place and elevates the knot. A tab collar shirt has 2 small tabs underneath the collar points that connect behind the necktie pushing it up and out. 

Stylistically similar to pin collar, though potentially more sporty. It's another variation of dress shirt collar that adds that little detail, that distinction, that can make it stand out from the pack.

James Bond - tab collar
Bond - oozing confidence knowing the tabs will elevate his tie knot and keep his collars from flapping around.

Club Collar
Pin collar and club collar
Pin collar. And club collar.
Best of both worlds from Pin Collar Shirts

Originating in Eton in the 19th century, the rounded club collar is cropping up more and more in designer collections.

It's less dressy than the point or spread, but not as casual as the button down.

Informal. Yet exclusive.

You're in the club.





Collar Tool Kit

Armed now with your wardrobe of great fitting shirts, each with just the right collar for your body, face and occasion, consider investing in a collar tool kit. A basic kit would contain collar stays and a cleaning agent. The stays will keep those point and spread collars in place (and not a bad gift idea for the style mogul who has almost everything). A wash and stain bar helps to remove any stains or those unfortunate yellowish blemishes off of the collar rim. 

Collar tool kit
Elements of a collar tool kit - Exuvius collar stays and The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar

Dos and Don'ts

  • Thou shalt not pop thy collars. A turn down collar is to be turned down. No exception. Even polo shirts.
  • If you need to wear a dress shirt with a jacket, but without a tie, go for one with a stiffer collar.
  • If it's a button down shirt, button it down. No flapping. It won't make a statement. Other than "I'm lazy" or "I'm clueless".
  • Pin and tab collar shirts - always with a tie.
  • If your wearing a tie, tie it right. No point having the ideal collar if your tie is a shemozzle.
  • If your collar is frayed or stained, do not wear the shirt.
  • While it may be considered ok to wear a tie with a button down shirt - never with a double breasted jacket.
  • Remember the fundamentals - balance and proportion.


So, that about sums up the essentials of your dress shirt collar. There is a lot to consider, we could go into crazy deeper detail about shapes and styles however if you stick to the basic rules outlined above of balance, proportion, and occasion you'll be ahead of the pack.

And don't forget, to easily find the shirts that are the right fit for your size, shape and style, check out www.sizemikk.com



* Kevin Spacey and Michael Gill play Frank Underwood and President Garrett in House of Cards. Catch it on Netflix
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Pellicano

Shout Quietly Stylish Men
Pellicano - Elegant Italian menswear with a sprinkling of 60's cool.
The team at Pellicano draw their inspiration from their own personal style icons including Jean Paul Belmondo, Marcello Mastroianni, Miles Davis and even James Bond (Sean and Daniel... of course!)

All their garments are designed in London and then lovingly manufactured in Italy by well-established family run businesses using local cottons and silks. Most of the garments are individually numbered limited editions. The shirts are all hand finished with French seams and mother of pearl buttons. Their ties and pocket squares are carefully handmade from silk sourced from Como.

High quality pieces at affordable prices.

Pellicano are developing a range of highly individualised styles:
  • penny collars for the office or off duty; 
  • pointed collars which wink at classic continental styling rather than the usual cut back collar shirt which dominate offices all around the city; 
  • and finally button downs that don't just hark back to the styles of misspent youths, but embrace quality Italian prints on elegant styled slim fit shirting.
Classic styling and a classic clean cut are key elements to their range of unusually elegant menswear.

Taking cues from the Italian obsession with “pavoneggiarsi”* style and mixing it with a splash of 21st century British swagger they are assembling a range of handcrafted, exclusive and distinctive clothing pieces and accessories that stand apart from the mass produced “clobber” found on the high street.

Pellicano logo

British Swagger, Italian Style


We're very pleased to be able to say that you'll be able to find the Pellicano Shirts that are the right fit for you very soon at www.sizemikk.com.


* pavoneggiarsi (verb) - To strut about, to show off, swagger.
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You Want Dapper? You Want Dandy? Then You Want Silk.

Silk Scarf and Pocket Square

Despite its humble origins (from the cocoons of silkworms), silk is a mighty fine material and one every gentleman should be well acquainted with.

From neckties to pajamas, the men’s fashion applications of silk are many. Luxury, strength, polish, comfort, sophistication, absorbency, panache... it’s a ripping mix of practicality and style that make it a very unique, and very important fabric for every gent’s wardrobe.


Neckwear

Silk is the well known standard for men’s ties and most of the best neckties are made of pure silk. (Though it’s true - pure wool can rank right up there as well).

Silk Tie
Lesser known is the fact that, even with “All silk” on the label, the tie is most likely not 100% silk. Not that it makes a difference to the final product but “100% silk shell” would be more accurate since even in the best handmade neckties the interlining is not made of silk.

Perhaps a more daring item of neckwear, a good cravat of course will truly be 100% silk. As will the silk scarf. Our suggestion here - display it, but be discreet, keep it under control.



Suit Lining

When it comes to suit linings, things aren't quite so cut and dry. You've got silk, but also a range of synthetic options, such as bemberg silk - which has never seen the inside of a silkworm’s cocoon - and a range of other synthetic options.

Debates rage about the pros and cons of silk in this context. Silk breathes better. Silk retains odour. Silk is stronger. Silk rips easier. The bottom line here is it depends on the quality in either case. Though it is worth noting that the majority of tailors these days have moved to a synthetic alternative, and in terms of bang-for-your-buck this is certainly understandable.

The Style Magnate’s golden rule here is: Say no to polyester.

Shirts

Ryder Shirt from Coeur
Cool, practical luxury - Ryder Shirt from Coeur
Now things get interesting.

The silk dress shirt.

Here’s your chance to really up the ante.

Here you can work the powers of silk to totally raise the bar on your dapper-ness and dandy.

The feel of silk is hard to beat. Done right, it screams luxury. In shirts, it’s a fabric that often works best in bold, striking colours.

However there is a flip side to silk. Trickier and potentially expensive to wash and care for, and for some, hotter and less breathable than cotton, a 100% silk shirt can present some challenges.

This is why we like the innovative approach by Coeur, a modern lifestyle brand that has fully embraced the powers of 100% British silk:
“The vibrancy from the silk is what sets it apart from the rest of the world - even hundreds of years ago” - Peter Juen Ho Tsang, founder Coeur
The shirts from Coeur are typically cotton or a rayon-cotton blend with silk trimming in key areas such as the collar, the sleeves and the cuffs. This best of both worlds approach is a cracking combination of practicality and style that embraces the luxury of silk in a cool, modern and maintainable garment. Very cool indeed!

The final key here, as with shirts of any fabric, is make sure the shirt fits. Neither the body tent, nor the bursting at the seams look will do anyone any favours, silk-lined or otherwise.

Silk - if Brad can do it, so can you

Others Items

Of course it doesn't stop there. Lap up the luxury of silk pajamas, socks, boxers, pocket squares...the list goes on. Hey, play your cards right and you could be spending 24 hrs a day touching nothing but silk. If you’re that way inclined.

Dandies unite and thank the humble silkworm!

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Be Bold. Be Brave. Bow Tie Basics For The Modern Gentleman

Bow ties are truly a classic accessory and thankfully, they have ventured away from being seen only at black tie affairs. First appearing in the 17th century, bow ties have traditionally exuded a more formal, dapper air, however, increasingly they are appearing in less formal settings.

And the Style Magnate approves.

Colorful and patterned bow ties are popping up in offices, restaurants, and happy hours as a creative accessory to a more casual, yet carefully selected outfit. They are a great way to mix it up a bit, show some personality and exude some confidence.

Types

Black bow tie
In general, the type of bow tie worn is the wearer’s choice and a matter of preference.

The butterfly shape is the traditional look with width of about 3 to 3.5 inches - usually the widest measurement for a bow tie.

The semi-butterfly style maintains the classic shape but is less wide - an inch or so narrower.

The batwing tie is much thinner and straight instead of the angular look of the original. Think of it as the skinny tie equivalent. This look is most modern and can also pair well at a non-formal event.

The pointed bow tie features diamond shaped ends instead of triangles - a new take on the traditional.

Self-Tied or Pre-Tied

Firstly - self-tied is always the way to go.

It's that simple really.

The risk of wearing a pre-tied tie is that someone will notice and then any credibility you had is immediately lost.

Self-tied bow ties avoid a completely symmetrical look, which can often look overdone. The asymmetry will not only show that you know how to tie a bow tie, but also give a more classic air.

The truth is, a bow tie is fairly simple to tie - it's a bow.

Fabric

Silk is a classic bow tie material and generally the proper choice for a formal affair.

Wool is also an excellent choice, suitable for both formal and casual occasions. Sarah Robinson, founder of Scottish-owned Robinson & Dapper is very passionate about incorporating the traditional wool fabrics she grew up with and is enthusiastic about their versatility:
"At Robinson & Dapper, we choose each fabric supplier for their specialty, whether it’s lambswool, tweed or twill. We incorporate a variety of colours, weaves and weights of wool, as well as more classic textiles, making our bow-ties suitable for both formal and casual wear" - Sarah Robinson, Robinson & Dapper

Robinson & Dapper - Wool Bow Tie
Wool - the material of choice at Robinson & Dapper

In other circumstances, a simple cotton tie is perfect in the warmer months and during more casual events.

A more daring choice is the velvet bow tie - also most appropriate in black at a formal event.

Size

Most importantly, the bow tie size must be proportional to the wearer’s face and overall body size.


Skinnier bow tie
Skinnier ties are better on a slimmer man while a traditional tie which is wider may be preferred on a more built figure. The tie should never be wider than the face or collar.

Fixed length ties are readily available and preferred as they are made in proportion to the neck size. One-size fits all ties require a slide clasp to make adjustments for the extra length. Such clasps often peak and are an unwanted addition to an otherwise well dressed look.



A Few Extra Tips

The bow tie, unless in classic black with a matching tuxedo, is always a statement. Some additional tips to keep it smooth and stylish:


Cool bow tie guy
  • Ensure that the colour and pattern of the tie compliments the rest of the outfit. To start off with, stick to solid colours such as navy, burgundy, brown, and grey. Once you have more experience mixing and matching, venture into patterns and bolder colours.
  • In general, if your outfit is loud in colour, pattern, and/or style, chose a neutral bow tie that completes the outfit with a classic touch.
  • A loose bow tie does not carry the attractiveness of a regular tie. Always keep the bow tie tied tight.
  • At black tie affairs, a black, self-tied tie is always the right choice. 


So, what are you waiting for? It's time to step it up. Be bold, be brave, and be cool and confident. Take the bow tie for a spin. Armed with the right perfectly fitted shirt, we think you won't be turning back.


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Men's Style - Ooze It. Confidence and the Cravat.

Cravat manOK, so you're down with the basics. You have at least a couple of suits including navy and grey. A range of great fitting business and dress shirts along with a coordinated collection of ties. Raw denim jeans (selvedge of course). A navy blazer. Oxford cap shoes. The brogues. A cashmere sweater or two.
Yes, yes all the basics are in place.

But something's lacking.

Uniformity.

If you stroll down Saville Row you'll fit right in. No-one will blink an eye. Enter any store and you'll tangibly sense the approval from the shop assistants - you're one of us. You fit in. It's because what you're wearing is a little bit like, well, it's a bit like... a uniform.

Is that what it's about? Uniformity?

Of course not.

All these pieces, these "gentleman's wardrobe essentials", we fully support. They are indeed foundation elements of a classically styled wardrobe. It's a start. But now it's time to build on that, to put your stamp on it and make it your own.

Individuality

Is in the details. Typically, the choice of tie. The watch. The socks. The hat. The pocket square. All the modern, somewhat standard, men's accessories. Along with their various flavours - stripes, checks, dots, colours, fabrics... in the right combination you'll certainly be looking the goods.

But, again, it's still that Saville Row uniform isn't it?

What to do? How to really individualise it? How to OWN it?

Well, we think we have an answer for you.

Consider... The Cravat.

Paul Tinsdale
Paul Tinsdale - 2 worlds collide - football & cravats
It's making a comeback.

The cravat first appeared in the 1600's when the Parisians spotted the Croats wearing cloths wrapped around their neck as a charm against injury. The French thought it was rather dashing and a trend was born.

Its usage evolved over the centuries until more recently, dandies aside, the cravat has been seen as somewhat old-school, even antiquarian.

Now a modern-day revival is emerging.

Cravats are gaining traction with the younger, mod, dapper male generation and they're seeing the light of day with the more traditional gent as well.

And The Style Magnate approves.

Cravat Club, an online store specialising in cravats, is a company leading the charge.
"It seems gentlemen these days have ditched the traditional necktie for casual or semi-formal occasions and tend to wear an open shirt instead. This can be seen somewhat 'lack-lustre' if you’re trying to dress to impress. Adding a day cravat to an outfit completes the look and emanates a sense of cultivated style and individualism." - Jennifer Meguro, Cravat Club
Cravat club's cover man
Cravat Club's cover man showing how it's done
Besides adding that air of panache and charisma, the cravat is more comfortable than a tie, and we'd suggest more versatile. Day Cravats (or Ascots in the US) are typically worn around the neck and tucked inside the collar of a shirt. That said, there's room for experimentation - tuck it into a polo shirt, or show off more of the cravat design by wearing it on the outside of the shirt paired with a tailored suit or jacket.

It's up to you. You're the individual.

Confidence

Perhaps not for the faint-hearted, you need to be confident to wear one. So it follows that if you're wearing one then you are confident. And let's face it, on top of style, individualism, a touch of panache, and a dose of attitude, that's exactly what you want to be exuding. Right?

So take the step. Be bold. Work it. Give the cravat a run.


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